De Pere defends anti-discrimination ordinance

De Pere City Hall and Police Department, seen September 21, 2016. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) – The city of De Pere defends its anti-discrimination ordinance in a new filing with the court, and asks that the lawsuit brought by five churches and a Christian radio station be dismissed.

De Pere passed an ordinance in November which went into effect March 1. It prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, the five churches -- Hope Lutheran, Crosspoint, Destiny, St. Mark Lutheran, and Christ the Rock -- along with Lakeshore Communications (which operates Q90FM), sued, seeking a declaration the ordinance does not apply to them, or that it be ruled unconstitutional. They maintain the ordinance is so broad it undermines their Constitutionally-protected rights to conduct their affairs in a manner consistent with religious mandates and principles.

In the city’s 19-page response, De Pere says the plaintiffs failed to file a notice of claim before filing the lawsuit, so it should be dismissed.

The city also argues the lawsuit is only based on theory and that there’s no example of damage: “The Plaintiffs’ Complaint requires the Court to answer questions as to what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts without any justiciable case or controversy currently existing between the parties,” the response states.

Also, the city asked for a different judge to be assigned to the case. It is now before Brown County Judge Kendall Kelley.

No hearings have been scheduled.

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